Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Some Finished Socks

In the big fiasco where we accidentally felted some of our hand knit socks, Ray lost two pair (all of his hand knits). His have now been replaced but with very different yarns/colors. I have many more pairs of hand-knitted socks so I was anxious to replace Ray's first. I would like to find  some of the yarns we felted and remake the same socks. WE ONLY HAND WASH OUR HAND-KNITTED SOCKS NOW SO WE SHOULD NEVER HAVE ANOTHER FELTING PROBLEM. I knew hot water could felt yarn but I did not know that agitation, even in cold water, could felt yarn.

Although Ray chose the yarn, he now says that these are pretty wild for him! However, I know he'll wear them because he enjoys his hand knit socks as much as I do. 

We bought the yarn at the Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival last September. The yarn is Merino wool with nylon. I find it interesting the way the yarn makes a spiral pattern down the sock. 

I knit my new socks with Classic Elite Yarns Alpaca Sox yarn that I bought at That Little Red House Yarn Shop in Grand Marais, Minnesota, last September. I loved working with the yarn and have another skein in blue for Ray unless I decide to keep it for me!





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Now I am working on a sweater with some gray alpaca yarn that I found at a farmer's market in Virginia last July. I ended up tearing out the first sleeve yesterday and starting over; that sleeve is now about half done. I'm not sure I've ever made a sweater starting with the sleeves but it's rather interesting. It'll be a while before this is done - I have a ways to go!

Monday, January 15, 2018

Tamarack is finished!

I am finally feeling better - that flu is strange and the fatigue is unreal. Last week I began cooking again (we were living on whatever was in the freezer and our ready-to-eat supplies were getting low!). One day last week, I fixed an extra nice dinner and we celebrated New Year's a little late.

On Friday we went to an Elvis Spectacular Concert; the tickets were a Christmas gift. We weren't sure we were going until Friday morning and thankfully I felt well enough. We got home after midnight so Saturday was a couple of long naps and then all was good. I do think I've turned the corner - yay!

I've been sewing a little most days and also knitting some.

I've just finished Tamarack. I love this quilt - it could be the colors! The free pattern is on the Tamarack Shack blog and is called the Four Patch Charm Quilt. You can find it here. I think I made my squares and HSTs larger than what the pattern said. I kept referring to my quilt as Tamarack since that is where I found the pattern and the name has stuck. 
Once again, this is flat; I just didn't get on the floor to straighten it out.
All of the colored fabrics are batiks and the white is plain cotton. Everything was from my stash. The quilt is 65" by 81". I used Dream Cotton batting and Aurifil thread for the piecing and the quilting. The white parts are quilted with the paisley motif - it was definitely time to do some free motion quilting. I love the texture.

The batik parts are quilted along the edges with a walking foot. In the centers, I used a ruler and free motion quilted a wavy line. 

The back is a batik from my stash that just seemed to have all of the right colors.

All of the photos are inside today. It is cold, snowing, and windy outside. Actually, it is a great day to be inside sewing!

We can't decide if this is going to the donation pile or not. Both Ray and I love the quilt.

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I have a few quilt tops waiting to be pinned and quilted including the first crayon quilt which I've named Box of 15

The second crayon quilt is in the design stage. Here is one possibility:

I would like to pin and quilt some in the pile before I piece more . . . that is, unless I find something I just have to make!

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

It's been interesting


It's been interesting.

On Christmas Eve, we went to the Candlelight Service at church. It was a nice service on a cold evening. The only problem was that someone took my coat! I was hopeful that they just took the wrong coat but that doesn't appear to be the case.  It was a nice coat that was rated for -25 degrees; a coat that is needed with our current weather. 

We had a great Christmas Day and hosted a fun party. 

Then I got the flu late in the day on December 27th and it just hung on. Ray had a lighter case and is now doing well. We both had flu shots; it might have been worse if we hadn't. After a week, I am finally feeling some better, however, I can't seem to handle much physical activity. At first, my eyes wouldn't focus well and I slept for many hours each day. Now my naps are minimal and I'm getting a few little things done interspersed with lots of rest. 

My new coat should arrive tomorrow although I don't think I'll go anywhere. My appetite is slowly returning so I'll stop this crazy but cool weight loss. The New Year is getting better every day!


Wednesday, December 27, 2017

The flannel quilts are done!

The flannel quilts are really finished!!! 

Quite a while ago, Lesley posted a couple of flannel quilts that she named Hugs. I loved them and decided to make that pattern in a larger quilt when I cleaned out the flannel pieces in my stash. Well I ended up with three large quilts. 

I finished Hugs right before Christmas. It is 80" by 88" with Dream Cotton batting it's all flannel - front and back.

It is very cold today (below 0 degrees) so no outside pictures. 

The blue border on the front and the blue back do not match - the border is a little darker.

I used some extra HSTs on the back. I like to use extra blocks on the back.

I quilted this with a walking foot. It's sewn about 1/4" from the seam on both sides of every seam. The quilt has been washed and has crinkled nicely. 

Hugs is ready to be gifted but it is not a Christmas gift.
 

You may recall the other two flannel quilt.

You can read about Hugs Squared here.

You can read about Diamond Hugs here.
 

Hmmm, they all look like they have the same HSTs. Well, they do! I began making the HSTs in September, 2016. These three quilts are all gifts for some important people in our lives. Two have been delivered. Hugs will be home soon.

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I've spent some time yesterday and today in my sewing rooms - yay! The Cricut Maker is working great and I have a start on my crayon quilt - no design yet, I'm just making crayons from solid colors. Here are some in varying stages.

I also began free-motion quilting a larger quilt, Tamarack. This is a quilt I began in March. Then it got put aside for flannel quilts and ??? Now, it is getting quilted. It really is time for me to do some free-motion quilting; it's been a long, unplanned hiatus.

You can see a little of the quilt here. 

I'm hoping that the next few days also have hours spent sewing - I might really make some progress!

Wishing you a Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Learning, Knitting, and Quilting

It's been rather busy around here. I think we have everything ready for Christmas. The last month has been a little strange in that we have been acquiring things - for us.

In late November we upgraded our phones because we needed to and the time was right - the new phones ended up being free - really! Of course there is a learning curve which is getting easier now that the SIM cards are in the correct phones. The guy made a mistake and switched the cards when he set up the phones so weird things happened - when one phone rang, so did the other; text messages either came to both phones or only went to one iPad; when we were roaming, we had no data; ...

We replaced our laptops about the same time as the phone upgrade. 

A couple of years ago, we decided to see how long we could make our old laptops last. It gave us time to save for the new ones which we both love. Of course, we have another learning curve.

We began thinking about trading in my Jeep Cherokee about a year ago. Ray really wanted something larger (he often hit his head when he got in). We found a great deal and now have a Jeep Grand Cherokee. It's a compromise for me because I love driving small vehicles but I do love some of the features and the headlights give better light. And you guessed it - another learning curve.


And then this happened - a Cricut Maker. 



It cuts almost anything including fabric.

I can draw a picture, take a picture, find a picture... and put it on my computer and the Cricut will cut it! The black fabric has Heat 'n Bond on it so it is ready to appliqué. The melon is just cotton fabric. I am planning a quilt with crayons...
I am loving this machine and learning as I go - yes, it is one more learning curve! If nothing else, I'm keeping my mind active!

I've finished a few projects.


Ray has a new pair of Chicago Bears socks.


I made a couple of alpaca hats for the friends that gave me the alpaca fleece. They match their son's hat.


I have one quilt to finish this year - the last large flannel one. It is very close - I am hand stitching the binding! I'm not sure I'll show you before Christmas but it will be done!

Tomorrow is Cookie Day with our nearby grandkids. We'll make/bake/decorate cutout cookies and gingerbread houses. It's one of my favorite holiday traditions. 

 Merry Christmas!

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Our annual FUN trek to the hospital

Today was fun - it was our annual trek to University of Wisconsin Children's Hospital (aka American Family Children's Hospital). We were a little earlier than past years - we had great weather instead of snow but we didn't get to see Santa or all of the decorations at the hospital. I wanted to go now because we have a young friend, Brynn, at the hospital.

I had 20 quilts to donate. Most were made this year - I think three were made in 2016. Here they are piled on the couch before we left.
Quilts to donate. Not include is the quilt on the back of the sofa.

Today I donated in honor of Brynn. She helped me design a quilt at a recent retreat. Now she is in the hospital for treatment. At the retreat, she went through pictures of all of my 2017 quilts and decided on her favorite. So instead of donating that quilt, we visited Brynn and delivered it to her. She immediately spread it out on her bed and eventually pulled it up to her chin; she was almost asleep when our short visit ended.
Brynn's favorite quilt is also a favorite of mine.
I hope the other 20 recipients like their quilts and that the quilts bring them some comfort. 

Last year I wrote:

We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.
-Winston S. Churchill

... I'm really not sure how to explain why I donate. It is just what I do. It feels good. I want to give back. I enjoy giving. I want to help. I want to make a difference. It is my work at this point in my life. I am blessed to be in good health and blessed to have enough time and resources to share.  

“Happiness doesn't result from what we get, but from what we give.”  
-Ben Carson

This year I still agree with everything I wrote last year. Today I was able to watch a sick child receive one of my quilts. This 10-year-old was delighted and immediately snuggled under her new quilt. I think it brought her comfort and that delighted me. I'll definitely be making and donating more quilts! 

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Just Sailing Along ...

A while back, Leslie, The Cuddle Quilter, made a Sailboat Quilt that I just loved - you can see her post here. I decided to make my own pattern - good for my mind and my stash because it usually takes more fabric!

I made a few prototypes - some will be used in a later quilt. I took my favorite one and made 24 more boats. Then I realized that one measurement of the prototype was different from the 24 boats. So I made the quilt with just 20 boats. The prototype is on the back and the other 4 boats will be used in another quilt some day.

This donation quilt is 48" by 51". We had a nice day today so I got a couple of photos outside.

I think the back would have looked neat with the color "stripes" going horizontal instead of vertical but there wasn't enough fabric.

The white piece under the sail in the prototype on the back finished at 3/4" high. On all of the other blocks, the piece finished at 1 1/4" high. I wonder how that happened??! 

The batting is Dream Cotton and I used Aurifil thread for piecing and quilting. You can see the blue binding better when the quilt is on the design wall.

I free motion quilted waves using my quilting rulers. I haven't done much free motion quilting in a while and I really do need practice. The quilt has been laundered and my little bobbles blend in much better now - whew!

I think the best thing that happened this week was that my oldest brother was moved from the VA hospital to a rehab center much closer to his home. Yesterday my other two brothers and I were able to visit with him. This is a picture of the four of us. It is seldom that all 4 of us are together, as well as our surviving spouses, so it was a special time.  And Tom, aka Santa, can now walk about 20 feet. We are hoping that his time at rehab goes quickly - he is ready to be home!

I've started a pair of socks for Ray. The yarn color is 'Bears' as in Chicago Bears. They are rather loud!

We have one more Thanksgiving celebration tomorrow. The house is clean, the pies are made ... I am ready!

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